Over the last few months I’ve spent quite a bit of time by myself. I’ve used this time to focus in on me — doing things to please myself and not feel guilty about it. I’ve poured all my energy into my work, taking on more responsibility and trying to further grow into my career path. I’ve also taken up CrossFit again as well as running. I’m running my first half marathon in 5 years in a week and half! And I’ve re-established friendships with friends I haven’t connected with in a long time. Doing and finding these things again have made me happy, and I feel like I’ve found myself again. But I want to be clear about something. It’s not that I ever felt like I lost my independence in my marriage. In fact, I think I might have been a little too independent in my marriage. But, really, I think it’s more about me realizing I took the backseat a lot and put myself second. As a result, I didn’t feel as strong as i could have. Finding this feeling of strength again has made me realize one thing. While I would ultimately like to find another partner — someone who truly compliments me. I mean, I really do love the idea of having a companion, someone who will be right by my side through it all. But, I don’t need that person in order to feel validated as a woman in this world. If the decision I made to end my marriage means that I don’t find anyone else and I wind up alone… I think I’d be okay with it. The thought of it doesn’t stir up the same feelings of fear, shame, and uncertainty I had the night I made the decision to end my marriage. I would like to think this is a good thing. I’m hopeful to find and experience happiness, even if it means I end up alone.
We all face difficult decisions every day.
What to wear. What to eat for lunch. What to do next weekend. What to do about the noisy neighbors. What to do about the annoying person at the gym who never wipes down their equipment. What to do about the really expensive handbag you want, but really shouldn’t get.
While some decisions come easier than others, I have come to believe that the best (and perhaps most important) decisions are the toughest to make. Really. Tough.
About 4-4.5 months ago, I made the decision to ask my husband for a divorce.
Initially, the idea of asking for a divorce seemed crazy. Beyond crazy. Okay, insane. As soon as the idea entered my mind, I questioned my own sanity. After all, when I got married, I had no intentions of doing it twice. I had found who I believed to be the love of my life and I made a lifelong commitment to share my life with him. I was determined to keep to my vows and see it through. To the end. But it’s not always that simple. Over time our relationship eroded and the concept of “us” withered away. The direction we had been heading during the last couple years yielded caution signs everywhere.
The moment I realized I no longer wanted to continue on in the relationship, I forced myself to think very carefully about the potential ramifications of a split. I questioned whether I was having a (really) bad reaction to yet another argument, or maybe the stress of work was having an impact on my ability to think clearly and rationalize.
But then when I started to have trouble sleeping, I knew just how real my feelings were. I’ve never had issues sleeping. I found myself lying awake at night for hours and hours. If my body finally felt tired enough to switch off, I’d fall asleep but would find myself waking up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning. And when I’d wake up it felt as if I was being yanked out of my sleep. It was the most startling and disturbing experience to wake up in that manner. This went on for about 3 weeks straight, and I couldn’t help but take it as a sign from my soul screaming, “get out of this now.”
I still remember the feeling I had in the pit of my stomach the night I decided I had to come clean with my feelings. I felt sick. I was sad and torn. I was scared shitless — how the hell was I going to start over? What would people think? Can I really do this?
I felt a million different feelings at the same time. I called one of my best friends and revealed what I was planning to do. As I talked through everything with her, the one thing I couldn’t get out of my mind was the thought that life was too short to not be happy. And I was definitely not happy. Nor was I in love.
I felt an incredible amount of guilt and sadness knowing that gaining happiness would require me to be selfish — something I don’t do very well. But when I put careful thought into it, past the guilt and sadness, I knew that my selfishness would better not only my own life but my husband’s life as well. And we would both come out of it as better and stronger people who needed to move on from each other.
Now, I am not going to go into the details of the events and conversations that took place after the night I decided I wanted a divorce — this is not the place for that and that’s between myself and my ex — but over the next series of posts I plan to document the changes and struggles I’ve faced as I start a new life. I want to document it because, well, I want to be able to look back on this period of my life and see all that I’ve overcome. There’s also a part of me that wants to share this because maybe there is someone else out there who hasn’t found the strength and courage to speak up for themselves and maybe my words and experiences will help inspire that person to be strong.